I am getting ready to do something a bit scary. Again. I am approaching it with the usual mixture of fear and excitement and I am hoping that writing about it will help me connect to people and will take some of the fear away. Again.
It has to do with another conference we are hosting this week that honors the 25th Anniversary of Collaborative Law. As most of you know, Collaborative Law is this amazing method of helping divorcing families that Stu Webb, a Minneapolis attorney, started in the beginning of 1990. It has grown all over the world (to more than 300 groups in more than 24 countries) and has made a very significant difference to the lives of thousands of people; including me. I have been lucky enough to be along for the ride through most of these amazing 25 years and it has been a journey of great professional and personal significance for me. Sometimes the journey has even allowed me to go all over the world to talk about this idea and to teach about it. Other times, like now, it has been a journey that I have mostly traveled with my Minnesota friends.
Minnesota’s Collaborative Law Institute (CLI) was the first group of its kind. We now have 95 people in our group; lawyers, mental health professionals, financial experts and mediators. We have been through a lot together. Most of us who have been members of CLI for a long time have taken our turn on the Board, and served as Officers. I will finish serving my third (and probably last) term on the board when the conference ends on Friday. I was the President last year, for the third time and, as Past President, my main job is to Chair this end of the year conference.
It is not a huge gathering, basically 60 people who will get together for two days this Thursday and Friday at Oak Ridge Conference Center. But it feels really big inside. Maybe because it may be my last act for this organization that has meant so much to me. Maybe because this has been a year, or two, in which the group has had to have some difficult conversations and I have taken some if it personally. But mostly just because I am me.
I am starting to get to know myself better and I can now identify my patterns more readily. One pattern is that I tend to put my heart into the things I do. That part is mostly good. I like leading from my heart. It makes me feel more alive. The other, more complicated, pattern is that when I bring in my heart, my ego often comes along. When my ego jumps in, I start to take things too seriously; I start to feel responsible for everything and I try to control everything. Then the knots start to build in my stomach. As we get closer to this event, I have started to lose some sleep; very rare for me.
One of the many great things that Stu Webb has taught me is that, when my stomach starts to feel those knots, I have started to take on something that I don’t need to own and I need to let it go. That principle, in a way, lies at the very heart of the movement. The problem with Stu is that he gives you these wisdoms but he doesn’t give you any secret trick for doing it. You just have to have a certain amount of faith and do it.
So this week, in honor of Stu and his 25 years of changing the world, I will let go. I will let my heart lead and I will try to leave my ego home. I will trust the future of this movement to the many good people who have gathered for this conference; just as I have learned to trust that saying things in this blog helps me have faith in these principles.